Update on U of T Law School’s Decision Not to Hire an Anti-Israel Activist
The campaign to reverse the University of Toronto’s decision to reject the recommendation of the hiring committee for the Director of its International Human Rights Program continues. That the committee chose a candidate that is actively antiZionist, with a history of association with pro-terrorist organizations, rightly alarmed many Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. Lies have been spread about the Dean’s decision that suggest the effect will marginalize and silence Palestinian voices within academia. There are even fabrications of racism, closing down free speech and of course, ignoring human rights violations by Israel.
This antiZionist campaign is a strong indication of the length people will go to in assaulting truth. There are specific challenges being raised in many forums by those who deny both history and current reality. The anti-Israel/antisemitic organizations cannot grasp anyone showing solidarity with Israel, be it by the Canadian government, or the Arab emirates. It doesn’t suit their cause to have Arab Muslims learn the truth, benefit from normalization with Israel or negate the Palestinian Authority’s whining story of oppression and discrimination. The only oppression that is routine against Palestinian Arabs is carried out by the PA in Judea, Samaria, the eastern area of Jerusalem, and by Hamas and other terrorist entities in Gaza. Today they are supported by Qatar, Iran and Turkey. So as the saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies?
CAEF urges everyone to sign the petition initiated by B’nai Brith Canada on this issue, defending the U of T Dean of Law’s decision not to hire Dr. Valentina Azarova, thus sparing a generation of Jewish and all law students, the insult of having an antisemite offer her perspective on human rights.
Further support has come from many places, including US organizations that also combat antisemitism, and locally from a young Canadian Arab, Walid Tamtam. Mr. Tamtam is a U of T student who contacted CAEF to offer assistance in fighting hate and antisemitism on campus, seeking dialogue, seeking to develop peaceful relations with young Jewish Canadians. A self-described Zionist, Mr. Tamtam sent this letter to the Dean of Law and the President of U of T.
Dear President and Dean of Law,
As an Arab student at the University of Toronto, I do not feel that the advocacy of individuals like Dr. Azarova or the political movements she is involved with, speak to the interests of many Arab-Israelis who identify as Palestinian, nor are they being silenced.
Dr. Azarova’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are hateful, which has become visible to me from her frequent social media activity. Her common references to resolutions offered by the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, seem to be rather frequent. She has several other Twitter activities, which concern human rights and international law, but which do not offer much genuine detail, only pure political slander. The type of rhetoric used toward. Israel when discussing its right to exist, and suggesting that the well-being or suffering of the Palestinian people is due exclusively to Israel, disregards the real injustices toward Palestinians by Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. Clearly Dr. Azarova’s activity would cause further divisiveness at the University of Toronto.
Media Reporting has been Biased
In response to an article in The Toronto Star, September 30th, by Daniel Tsai, a former senior policy adviser in the federal government, and lecturer in law at Ryerson University, CAEF submitted the following letter co-authored with Dr. DavidNussbaum, retired U of T Assistant Professor and Advisor to CAEF. Note that Tsai makes a false claim that anti-Muslim bigotry or racial minority status is the issue. Blatantly false; he ignores the history of antisemitic/antiZionist bigotry of the candidate.
The bias in the September 30, 2020 article, entitled, U of T Law School failed minorities in hiring scandal is difficult to ignore.
First, it is very selective in claims of shortchanged minorities. Certainly, Jewish students who support Israel routinely face demonization in prevalent attempts to delegitimize their historically accurate account of 20th century Israeli-Palestinian Arab interactions. Jews are a minority, with a long history of persecution and discrimination, which is significantly increasing, most significantly on university campuses.
CAEF Dismayed by May’s Biased Remarks in Parliament
The Green Party’s outgoing national leader, Elizabeth May, took a parting shot at Israel, presenting an antisemitic petition in the House on October 2nd, 2020. It never ceases to amaze the Jewish community, that no matter what pressing issues are needing to be addressed, someone finds the time to make an antisemitic remark; no matter what the crisis, some people choose to blame the Jews; no matter how much humanitarian aid is provided by Israel to countries in need, some people prefer to conjure up negative stereotypes of Israel or Israelis.
The following is the letter that CAEF sent to Ms. May following her presenting petition e-2710 which calls on the Canadian government to implement a boycott of Israeli products, amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement to harm certain Israeli industries and agricultural entities, and reiterates old canards about Israel being an “occupier”, read “colonialist,” thus negating all of Jewish history. In choosing to bring this petition to the House and in her remarks, Ms. May is illustrating why the IHRA working definition of antisemitism must be fully adopted and implemented in Canada, eliminating the double standard always applied to Israel.
CAEF looks forward to hearing how the new leader of the Green Party of Canada, Ms. Annamaie Paul, will respond to blatant and subtle antisemitism, to the double standard, demonization, and denigration of Israel.
Dear Ms. May,
I write to you on behalf of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation to express our total dismay at the presentation you made of petition e-2710, which in itself includes clear illustrations of the “new” antisemitism, singling out the Jewish State for discrimination and double standards. Your statement contains many falsehoods that need to be addressed. We hope your statements DO NOT represent the views of the new Green Party of Canada leadership, as the Party has in the past been tainted by people using antisemitic rhetoric, and campaigning to denigrate Israel.